Monthly recap May '16 | Sadness, celebrations & Mumford and sons.

Monthly-recap_thumb6This post recaps my month: my personal life, all the books I’ve read & bought, movies and TV shows I’ve seen and links to posts that interest me.
May really left me with mixed feelings.

Two days ago I got the news that a friend got killed in a car accident. I'm still in a state of confusion and shock. It seems so unreal. The last time I saw him was when had our graduation together. Such a happy moment. He had this silly type of humor that often made us roll our eyes, but that is also something that made him for who he was. Four years of friendship and despite the fact we did have less contact these past few months, I will miss him and his updates on Facebook. Only twenty two and now he can never live up to his full potential. It makes me angry and sad.

Back to the other things I did in May..

We celebrated two birthdays: my sister turned 22 and my grandfather achieved the awesome age of 80. I feel even more blessed that I have him (and my other grandparents) still around. For my grandfather's birthday we went out for dinner to a wok restaurant. Good food!

I went to Jungle book (loooved it) and a fair with my boyfriend, where we tried to win some stuffed animals (and failed of course, haha). He gave me some beautiful roses to celebrate  he fact we are together for 7.5 years. We visited a Japanese garden, but it wasn't as pretty as it was in Autumn. We had a lovely walk though and it reminded me to do this more often.

I saw MUMFORD AND SONS with my sister. It was one of the best nights. Such good music, such a beautiful voice and so much energy. It has been my favorite band for quite some time now, so seeing them live was like a dream come true. They definitely settled their place as favorite, because they are so freaking good. We heard one of their newest songs and they invited Babaa Maal, so that was special! There will be time. According to someone in the comments, his text means: You are my only love. Your love makes me loves this world. Let me tell you that I really love you .Let's stop all the hate and gossip and focus on love.
Mumford and sons

Talk Bujo to Me | My step into the bulletjournaling world.

Reminder: I'm a newbie at this. I've been using my bulletjournal since April this year, so I'm still in the middle of figuring everything out. I just thought I would give you a look at my method.

I don't even know how I came across the concept of bulletjournals, but I probably found it on Instagram or Pinterest. I'm always looking for ways to be organized and I love making lists. I am a big fan of the app called Wunderlist, but when it comes down to organization I prefer to use notebooks. There is something about writing everything down and crossing of that motivates me more.

So, when I was introduced to the concept of bulletjournaling I was really curious about this and a bit hesitant. I know that I can easily get carried away by something and I was afraid to take the plunge, but eventually I went with it and I love it. It is a modified to-do list, but the whole concept around it with extra logs made me realize I wasn't effectively using my to-do lists before.

Bulletjournaling is also not only a way to keep track of everything I have to do in my daily life and blog schedules, but it also gives me rest in my head. I have an anxious nature, but the fact that I can write anything down and can make lists of everything that might bother me is really calming.

Back to the basic of what bulletjournaling is. It is a bullet system, an analog system, that helps you to create order by "tracking the past, organizing the present and planning for the future." It is created by Ryder Carroll. It is a way to rapid log what you have to do.

There are four key concepts.

1. Index. You number all your pages, so you can organize those entries in your index page.
2. There are several logs you can use in this system, like a Future log, monthly log and daily log.
Future log: events occurring in future months (example: birthdays)
Monthly log: events/notes and tasks.
Daily log: a spread with day to day tasks.

For your daily log:
First step is writing a topic on the top corner of the page, like the date. The next step is to add short-formed notations, organized into three categories: Tasks, events and notes. A task is a simple dot and it has the following key:
  • X = Task Complete
  • > = Task Migrated
  • < = Task Scheduled
Events are a simple circle; O. Notes are a simple dash: –.

You use signifiers in front of these Bullets to give them extra context, like a ! to show that it is a very important bullet. For more information I recommend the official Bulletjournal website. I went ahead and changed these to my preferred keys, but this is the main idea.

My keys.

3. Collections are a group of related ideas. This means you can make lists of everything you can think off. Here are two examples of pages I came up with: a wishlist of all things non-bookish and a spread for my classic-reading challenge.

WishlistClassic project

4. Migrating tasks. At the end of the month you look at your Monthly log/daily logs and you look at undone tasks. You assess them and migrate them if you still want to do them or cross them off if they no longer have value.

You can go as simple and minimalistic as you want with these key concepts, but I like to go all out with decorations, drawings, banners, dividers, quotes and random doodles. I've always been artistic/creative, but the last couple of years I've been too busy with other things. Bulletjournaling helps me to bring out that side again. I'm also a bit obsessed with lettering, so it is a good practice. Here is an example of a random doodle page I added:


My tips for starting one:
1. Look at some examples and try to come up with a system that looks useful to you. Like: do you want a monthly spread, weekly, daily or all of them? What extra pages would be of benefit to you? I will take more about this in the next part.

2. Don't get carried away: if you like to keep it simple, stick with it. If you want to go all out: go for it. It is easy to fall in love with all the pretty creations some people make and I've seen jealousy and negativity surrounding it. Just do what you want to do and don't compare your bulletjournal with someone else. There is no right or wrong way.

3. Buy a dotted journal. My first one I used had lines, but dotted really is much nicer to use. I'm using the Leuchtturmn 1917 and I love it. The paper has a nice quality and doesn't bleed so much. I've also heard good things about the Moleskine dotted notebook.

Next part:

Do you have any questions? Do you use to-do lists?

Fairytale news | On the sidelines.

Mel on reading
This post ties in with my Feeling uninspired discussion last month. I talked about the fact that I still want to blog, but that I had no inspiration about what I wanted to write. I also mentioned that voice in the back of my head that wonders how much I contribute to the community. There are so many blogs and we are used as promotional tools, but hardly get any recognition for it. Last time there was another round of bashing and I'm sick of it.

There has been no change in this problem and I think I that's because that voice is the source of it: I feel like I am on the sideline. I've watched a few dramas from the distance and I never felt the need to speak up about it. A part of me simply because I am afraid of the backlash, another part of me because I don't really care enough to share my opinion. I have the idea I don't add anything to the discussion, so I just sigh and turn away. I feel like I should care more.

I feel disconnected from the community and I haven't found a way to change this. Every time I look on my Bloglovin' feed, I simply want to run away from all the unread posts. And when I start to comment, I ask myself why I put so much time in it; will people notice? It is the same with commenting on my blog: I feel it is more effort than it is worth.. And I used to be great at replying back.. I also would be lying if the declining amount of comments did not bother me. I am still happy with every comment I get, but it has definitely dropped. It's not strange, because I'm less active, but it's not motivating.

Every time I open Twitter and try to engage in conversations, I feel left out. It's like I am no longer part of it all and I hate this feeling, because I've never encountered this before. Is this how a true blogging slump feels like? For years I've been writing and posting without any effort. I used to comment every day and I was always up to date, but lately..


I don't put any pressure on myself. I don't stress out over the fact I don't post as often as before. It's not like I am forcing myself to write posts and come up with ideas, because I seem to care too less - and I don't want that. I still have good blogging friends and I'm now catching up with reviews and review copies. For some reason it's just not as fun as it was. I'm not saying I'm going to quit, not at all! I'm planning to stick around for sure, but I need to find a way to get my excitement back. I think it is just a contemporary thing I need to get over.

I think I just need to branch out some more. Get back to talking about movies/TV shows, more Disney and fairytales (because you can't go wrong with those) and lately I've been REALLY thrilled about my venture into handlettering and hardcore bulletjournaling. I've been spending a lot of time on Instagram for those two, so I think I need to bring/incorporate it in my blogging life.

So please, my dear readers, tell me your tips and tricks against this type of slump.

Review 258. Kaufman & Kristoff – Illuminae.

23395680Title: Illuminae.
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff.
Pages:  599.
Published: October 20th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Sort: Part one of The Illuminae files.
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

It took me a long time to read this book. I love the unique formatting and how this book is like anything I've ever read before, but at the same time it made this the type of story I could not read in one sitting. It was a book that made me want to read a couple of pages, before moving on to something else. That does not mean it was bad, not at all. I was hooked to the story, especially towards the ending where everything seems to be doomed, but it took me on a longer journey than other books.

This interesting way of telling a story was brilliant. Big credits to the overall design and how it eventually came together as a story. In the beginning I felt like I was floating around; all kinds of stories, different pieces of information and nothing seemed to be connected, until it all came together. I really started to enjoy it the moment it started to make more sense.

I LOVED the virus (surprise) and the tension it added. The people with the Phobos virus were terrifying and I never thought there would be so many tense and scary situations, especially when Kady tries to save the day. This girl was so brave and intelligent, I really admired her strength. The downside was my disconnection from her. Despite liking her, I never felt I truly got to know her because of this formatting. I also wasn't a fan of her chat conversations with Ezra. They both had a funny voice, but there is just something about chats that doesn't work for me. This also gave me a certain don't-care attitude towards their romance, I didn't ship them that much.

The ending was a bit disappointing. I first thought the authors were brave by the twist they pulled, but then they decided to go with the oh-so-cliched untwist and mweh, I wish they had stayed true to the story; bleak, dark and many deaths. I am curious about the sequel and I can't wait to see how the story continues, but I don't think I'm as much in love with this book as everyone else. It was good, but it did not reach the FANGIRL status for me.

TTT | Favorite non-bookish websites.

Boho Berry. At the beginning of this year I took the plunge into the world of Bulletjournaling. I came across Boho Berry on Instagram and I fell in love with her inspirational posts. I really like her creative and useful tips, so I highly recommend checking out her website and IG if you want to start a Bulletjournal.

Decade thirthy. This is another Bulletjournaling website I recently found and I really enjoy her posts. I like her new feature, The planner experimentalists, where other people write a post and introduce their way of Bulletjournaling.

The bulletjournalist has different tips and tricks to get the best out of your bulletjournal.

Pretty prints & paper provides different tutorials, like handwriting & lettering, that you can use in your bullet journal.

Hannahemilylane has a little bit of everything. Lifestyle, bullet journal, blogging tips. I really like the diversity in her posts.

 Hello, Steph. A lifestyle blogger about beauty, baking, books, health and fitness.

Random sites.
NETFLIX. I don't know what I would do with my precious Netflix. It is my main source for TV shows.

Pinterest. I'm a very active Pinner; The daily prophecy. I pin everything that is interesting to me.

Youtube, because I love watching tutorials; food, beauty, art, give it all to me!

Sciencedaily is, so far, my favorite website to keep myself up to date with all the news, especially in Microbiology.

Tell me all about your favorite non-bookish websites!

Review 257. Anne Blankman - Traitor Angels.

25862970Title: Traitor Angels.
Author:  Anne Blankman.
Pages:  400.
Published: May 3rd 2016 by Balzer + Bray.
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Edelweiss and publisher, thanks!
Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects. Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom. Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s man arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Vivani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart? When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father…and tear apart the very fabric of society.

Two years ago I fell in love with Prisoner of night and fog. Last year Blankman lived up to my expectations with Conspiracy of blood and smoke. This year she proves she is a solid author with Traitor Angels and I can already tell you I wil read whatever she is going to write next. If I would have to compare this book with anything else, I would say it has the same vibes as The Da Vinci Code. With clues and hidden messages that takes Elizabeth on a journey that may destroy society as they know it.

One thing Blankman excels at is writing fleshed-out characters, mainly females that prove you can be strong without having muscles. Elizabeth is the daughter of famous poet John Milton and she helps him with his latest work after he lost his sight. He also makes sure she is able to handle a sword and Elizabeth has a feeling he is training her for something more, but she has no idea what, until the night comes where John is arrested by the king's man. Elizabeth has to follow a message he encoded in his half-finished Paradise lost and together with Antonio, an Intalian scientist, she has to crack the secret.

Elizabeth is smart, brave and easy to connect with. I fell in love with her voice right after the start and she did not disappoint me. She has a different way of thinking than is expected of females and I liked how her father gave her space to explore things she likes. It is obvious he gave her a broad education while growing up. That is also something that made me appreciate Antonio and their growing feelings. He completely supports Elizabeth and her passion for science, something that is out of the question for her gender. He respects her and her thoughts and they had such an equal understanding, you can't help yourself from falling in love with him too. The best part about the romance, besides being slow-building, was the fact it never takes the front seat. This book is all about figuring out what her father has hidden in his poem.

During all twists, turns and clues it is obvious that the author did her research. There are many topics she explores that makes sure you are hooked to the story and I have learned a few new things as well. The historical setting is really nicely done. There is an emphasis on religion and Galileo Galilei's work – and it is all blended so well into the story. I think it will also appeal to people to tend to stay away from historical reads, because there is so much else to explore as well.

Retelling May '16 | Tales I would like to see as a Disney movie.

Don't forget to tweet and Instagram with the hash-tag #fairytaleRC.

At the end of this post you can put links to your challenge page/post and every review you post on your blog. Please make this easy to navigate by putting it like this: 
UPDATE  @ your name/blog name. This is your master post, like your challenge page. 
REVIEW – book title @ your name/blog name.

I love fairytales and I love Disney, so if the two of them combine it's the best thing in the world. I was thinking about all the Disney movies that will be released in the future and all the things I would love to see, so here are a few ideas;

There is a movie about the Prince of Egypt and Hercules, but I would love to see them use some Norse mythology/Scandinavian folklore too! Odin, Freyja, Loki; wouldn't it be great to see their creations for them. I also think the naughty Loki is someone children will like.

A live version of Bluebeard would be pretty epic too. Such a dark and creepy tale that would work really well on screen The same for a movie about The twelve dancing princesses, although it would be great to have an animation version too. This has always been one of (my many) favorite tales. The mystery behind their dancing; I think it is captivating and there is a lot of space to be creative about the reason they have to dance all night.

I also think Six Swans would be a good story to film. Her six brothers are turned into swans by their stepmother and she has to endure a lot to break it. Movies about strong female characters: yes please! A movie from one thousand and one nights about Scheherazade is more than welcome too. We can use the diversity. Or what about a live version of Aladdin! Next to Beauty and the beast and The little mermaid definitely one of my favorites.

I'm still surprised that Disney does not own an animation movie of Red Riding Hood, Princess and the pea, Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel of Jack and the beanstalk. Those are such classic stories that match perfectly with their animation style. You never know what the future will bring, right?

What would you like to see retold in a movie?